“We need YOU to make art history inside S. Korea’s parliament”

The discussion that has unfolded over the past week has been staggering.  Your responses are all incredibly important and needed to move the conversation forward.  Here’s your chance to move this conversation forward in South Korea.

“Over 89% of adoptees sent in 2008 and 2009 were children of single mothers. There are no little war orphans anymore — only discrimination and the laws that institutionalize it. If you don’t like the rules, well then, you have to change them. We are a small band of proactive adoptees, Korean single mothers who believe they have the right to raise their own children, and Korean and international allies who have been quietly working toward that for about two years. Now this is the final hour and we need your help. This rises above partisan politics, because this is for the people. We are challenging them to do it before the G20.”

This is an incredibly project and opportunity to make an impact on the lives of single mothers with children in Korea.  It’s not about adoption, it’s about creating the social infrastructure needed to provide them with the support they need to continue their families.  Here is a message from our friends at TRACK.


A digital scan please – sent to jjtrenka@gmail.com

TRACK is making history-changing art to convince Korean legislators to support unwed moms by voting for the Adoption Law revisions. IMAGINE — a Korea where moms have choices and children don’t have to be sent away like we 200,000 were…

You can see the images of the project concept at:

Here’s Jane’s eloquent appeal:

We need YOU to make art history inside S. Korea’s parliament
Posted on May 26, 2010 by jjtrenka

Our adoption law revision bill has been checked for legality and approved; our bill has been introduced in a press conference; and we have attended countless hours of meetings and public hearings. Now it’s time to MAKE A BILL INTO LAW!

South Korean national parliamentarian Choi Young-hee (DP) has asked TRACK to make some art in order to garner support amongst lawmakers for the adoption law revision bill that was proposed by coalition of ASK-KoRoot-Miss Mamma Mia-TRACK and written by the Gonggam Public Interest Lawyers.

Not only that, but we have gotten permission to make our art inside the National Assembly complex, in the building where the lawmakers debate, and leave it there from June 9-15. This is a huge victory to have a lawmaker so squarely on our side.

Now we are going to show them what 200,000 international adoptees look like.

So they can just ponder that.

The nature of the site is a big atrium connecting two parts of a building. That means that every national lawmaker in South Korea will be forced to walk through our exhibit. Every lawmaker will be forced to think about South Korea’s responsibility to care for its own citizens. Every lawmaker.

Amongst TRACK members, we’ve nicknamed this project “The Walk of Shame.” Make no mistake, your average Korean is ASHAMED that the country has sent away their most precious natural resource — their children. And they feel GUILTY that they continue to do it in the face of the G20. What we want to show them is that they don’t have to just stew in the shame and guilt. That’s not productive. Instead, they can proactively take the bull by the horns and make laws that promote family preservation instead of international adoption.

Over 89% of adoptees sent in 2008 and 2009 were children of single mothers. There are no little war orphans anymore — only discrimination and the laws that institutionalize it. If you don’t like the rules, well then, you have to change them. We are a small band of proactive adoptees, Korean single mothers who believe they have the right to raise their own children, and Korean and international allies who have been quietly working toward that for about two years. Now this is the final hour and we need your help. This rises above partisan politics, because this is for the people. We are challenging them to do it before the G20.

So it’s time to pull out all the stops! We need your help. Without your help, we will fail. Please read the pamphlet below that Suki (the mastermind with an architecture background!) has made that shows what we are going to do.

If you can help with your hands, that is wonderful. Please contact Suki at admin@adoptionjustice.com and/or Jane Jeong Trenka at jjtrenka@gmail.com and let them know what time you can show up at the National Assembly.

If you cannot help with your hands, please consider a donation of two types.

This is Jane, adopted through KSS and for some reason, no mug shot. A photo like this or one of the more archetypal adoptee mug shots with number would be great.

1. A donation of your adoption photo to be used in the the exhibit. Let’s remind them what all the tags represent. Each tag represents a precious life. Don’t let them forget how precious you are.

2. A donation of money. This project is costing TRACK about $4,000 in PVC pipes and joints, printing, fabric, stamps, tag guns, little plastic parts, lights, etc. We did not sponsor an event for Adoption Day this year because we do not have the funds. We are pouring everything into this instead. As you know, no one at TRACK earns a cent of salary, and we take only private donations. (No religious or government funds.) We are run with 100% volunteer labor. You can send a Paypal donation to us at truthreconcile@gmail.com. Click here for our bank account info. Anything, no matter how small, is welcome.

This is going to be a HUGE art project right in the belly of the beast!

WE CAN DO IT and we have ONE BIG CHANCE, JUNE 9-15.

Please participate! Together, we can do the impossible!!

~Thank you from TRACK’s grateful and happily productive adoptees!!!~

Tensions Escalate in Korea, Psychological Warfare Begins

Tensions are mounting on the Korean peninsula and it’s not looking good.  South Korea has cut off trade with North Korea, and North Korea is expelling many South Koreans out as well.

Some sources say that North Korea is preparing its troops for war, but the South Korean government has not confirmed this yet.

So, here we are, back at psychological warfare.  Both countries plan to resume their propaganda broadcasts via loudspeakers and South Korea intends to begin spreading leaflets about the sinking of its ship to to North Korean people via balloons etc.

Things are precariously balanced at the moment.  It’s unclear how North Korea would attack but at this point it is reassuring to know that most of the UN Security council has South Korea’s back.  Japan has already denounced the actions of North Korea and will join the U.S. in supporting the South should military actions arise.  But China is still on the fence.

It seems that almost every year something happens to put the relationship between the North and South in jeopardy.  But somehow, this seems different.  The North continues to deny their involvement in the sinking of the South Korean ship, but all forensic evidence points to a North Korean missile.  I sincerely hope that an agreement is reached before things escalate any further.

It’s worrisome of course, with The Gathering in Seoul approaching quickly.


HBO’s Tribute to APIA Heritage Month “Asians Aloud”

Hey all,

I know that sadly, APIA Heritage month is coming to a close.  However, I did want to take the time to share a short video commemorating APIA Heritage month that I found recently.

HBO just recently released a short film called “Asians Aloud” what documents the perspectives of Asian Americans.  And there are two KADs featured in it.  Take a look – GS


Updates on the North Korea – South Korea Situation

More updates on the North Korea – South Korea front.  Secretary of State Clinton has publicly denounced the actions of North Korea and is seeking out alliances to mount a campaign against North Korea.

At this point there is a UN Security Council resolution on the table that would end trade from South Korea to North Korea and launch what appears to be an antisubmarine warfare campaign.

It’s a curious development, but I’m still concerned about North Korea’s threats to declare “all-out war” if it is sanctioned or punished.  I don’t think there is anything safe about ignoring North Korea’s threats or seeing them as empty.  I know they have said it before, but now is different.

This update comes straight from the NY Times, but I have to say, this article feels like two completely different stories.  On one hand I understand the connection to China, but still, this shouldn’t just be about preserving our trade relations.  This is about an unprovoked attack on the South Korean people.

(New York Times)
May 21, 2010

Clinton Condemns Attack on South Korean Ship


TOKYO — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton harshly condemned North Korea on Friday for a deadly torpedo attack on a South Korean Navy warship last March, and promised to marshal an international response in the coming week with Japan, China and other countries.

“I think it is important to send a clear message to North Korea that provocative actions have consequences,” she said after meeting here with the Japanese foreign minister, Katsuya Okada. “We cannot allow this attack on South Korea to go unanswered by the international community.”

Mrs. Clinton declined to lay out the potential options for a response, saying that would be premature. But she left little doubt that the United States would undertake an intensive diplomatic effort to craft a response to the sinking of the Cheonan, which killed 46 sailors and was one of the biggest military provocations on the Korean Peninsula since the Korean War.

Among the options being considered by South Korean and American officials is a United Nations Security Council resolution, and joint naval exercises with South Korea that could include anti-submarine warfare operations. South Korea may also cut off its remaining trade with the North.

“Let me be clear: this will not, and cannot be, business as usual,” Mrs. Clinton said, speaking in solemn tones. “There must be an international, not just a regional, but an international response.”

The mounting tensions on the Korean peninsula have roiled what had been planned as three days of economic and security talks between China and the United States next week in Beijing.

Now, those discussions are likely to be dominated by how far the United States can push China to support an international move against North Korea. The Chinese government reacted to the reports of Pyongyang’s involvement with extreme skepticism, angering many people in South Korea.

But Mrs. Clinton said South Korea’s investigation, which was aided by the United States and other countries, was thorough, scientific, and found the evidence “overwhelming and condemning.”

Both she and Mr. Okada said the tension underlined the importance of the American-Japanese alliance, and the presence of American troops on Japanese soil. But the two governments have not yet resolved a lengthy dispute over the relocation of a Marine base on the island of Okinawa.

Negotiations were continuing, Mr. Okada said, and the Japanese government was sticking to its timetable of resolving the matter by the end of the month. Mrs. Clinton said the United States sought a solution that was “operationally viable and politically sustainable.”

On Sunday, Mrs. Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner are jointly leading a delegation which will number nearly 200 policy makers and advisers, one of the largest groups of American officials ever to travel to a foreign capital for a single set of meetings.

On the agenda: trying to balance the economic relationship between China and the United States, breaking down trade and investment barriers, and moving China toward a market-driven exchange rate.

But despite rising political pressure at home, administration officials said that at these meetings, the United States does not plan to push Beijing strenuously to loosen its policy of pegging its currency to the dollar. And it does not expect China to take any action on the currency until at least next month, because Beijing is loath at appearing to yield to outside pressure.

The administration sought to put a good face on Europe’s troubles, suggesting they played into one of the main American themes for the meeting: encouraging the Chinese to ramp up domestic consumption, so that they did not rely so heavily on exports to either Europe or the United States.

“The Greek crisis underlines the U.S. argument about the need for more balanced global growth,” Mr. Geithner said in an interview. “It makes the case very strongly because it is about Europe as well as China. It makes our interests in balanced growth even more aligned.”

The Greek crisis has dragged down the euro, which complicates a related American priority: prodding China to loosen its peg, which economists say keeps its currency, the renminbi, at an artificially depressed level. The United States wants China to allow the currency to rise closer to market levels, calculating that this would make American goods more competitive.

The renminbi has already risen sharply against the beleaguered euro, however, making Chinese goods more costly in Europe. And this, analysts say, could make Chinese officials more resistant to taking any steps that would allow it to rise against the dollar.

Moreover, if the Greek crisis spreads to Spain, Portugal, or other European countries, it could slow Europe’s overall economic growth and further dampen demand for Chinese exports.

The Obama administration delayed filing a report with Congress, scheduled for mid-April, which could have labeled China as a country that manipulates its currency. The administration’s policy, officials said, is to give Beijing the space it needs to make the decision by itself.

Beijing has signaled privately to Washington that it may begin loosen its currency policy in the weeks to a meeting in June of the Group of 20 industrialized and major emerging economies, officials said.

“While we don’t know when China is going to move, we remain confident that they’re going to determine that it’s in their interest to move to a more market-determined exchange rate,” said David Loevinger, the senior coordinator for China affairs at the Treasury Department.

South Korea Officially Accuses North Korea of Torpedoing Ship

It’s official, South Koreans have released forensic evidence linking the sinking of a South Korean ship to a torpedo believed to have North Korean serial numbers on it.

North Korea denies these accusations and has said that if it is punished that it will call for an “all-out war.”

China seems to be dragging its feet on whether or not it will publicly denounce North Korea, and the U.S. is wary of this.

This news comes at a particularly sensitive time in Korean history as Koreans reflect on the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.  There’s no telling what will happen next, but here’s hoping no more blood will be shed.

(New York Times)

May 19, 2010

Diplomatic Storm Brewing Over Korean Peninsula


WASHINGTON — South Korea’s formal accusation that a North Korean torpedo sank one of its warships, killing 46 sailors, will set off a diplomatic drumbeat to punish North Korea, backed by the United States and other nations, which could end up in the United Nations Security Council.

On Thursday morning in Seoul, the South Korean government presented forensic evidence, including part of a torpedo propeller with what investigators believe is a North Korean serial number.

They said it proved that the underwater explosion that shattered the 1,200-ton corvette, the Cheonan, in March near a disputed sea border with the North was caused by the detonation of a torpedo.

On Monday, South Korea is expected to push for the case to be referred to the United Nations, and the United States plans to back Seoul “strongly and unequivocally,” according to Obama administration officials.

The investigation “points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that North Korea was responsible for this attack,” the White House said in a statement after the report was released in Seoul. “This act of aggression is one more instance of North Korea’s unacceptable behavior and defiance of international law.”

The big question, the officials said, is whether China, North Korea’s neighbor and a veto-wielding member of the Security Council, will go along with yet another international condemnation of the North. China backed sanctions against North Korea last year after the North tested a nuclear device, but it has reacted with extreme caution since the ship sank on March 26.

North Korea dismissed the findings as a fabrication and warned that it would wage “all-out war” if it were punished, North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency reported.

The sharp escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula complicates a trip to China by a delegation of senior American officials, led by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, to hold a so-called Strategy and Economic Dialogue.

Nearly 200 American officials will travel to Beijing this weekend to consult with their Chinese counterparts on an array of issues, including sanctions against Iran, China’s exchange rate, climate change policy and exchanges between the American and Chinese militaries.

The American delegation will include officials as diverse as Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and the commander of the United States Pacific Command, Adm. Robert F. Willard.

The South Korean report, which essentially accuses the North of the worst military provocation on the Korean Peninsula since the end of the Korean War, injects a potentially combustible element into these talks. Among other things, it raises the question of how hard the United States plans to push Beijing to support a new Security Council resolution.

For weeks after the sinking of the Cheonan, China urged caution in pointing fingers at North Korea, even though the evidence pointed strongly in that direction. On Wednesday, South Korea briefed Chinese diplomats, as well as those of other countries, about its findings.

“China has always tried to avoid making choices between North and South Korea, but an incident like this doesn’t allow that,” said Victor Cha, a former Bush administration official, responsible for North Korean policy, who now teaches at Georgetown University. “They have to choose.”

For the United States, the calculus is also complicated. The Obama administration just won China’s backing for a fourth round of United Nations sanctions against Iran related to its nuclear program. That, some analysts said, was the administration’s main strategic priority at this point.

Still, the United States has been deeply involved in the South’s investigation of the sinking. It sent a team from the Navy’s Pacific Command to take part in the search for clues, officials said, headed by an expert in submarine escape and rescue, Rear Adm. Thomas J. Eccles.

Australia, Canada, Britain and Sweden also took part in the investigation and will endorse its conclusions, officials said. South Korea, the officials said, wanted to have an international team so it would be harder for the North to dismiss the inquiry as politically motivated.

South Korea is weighing other measures against North Korea, which could include cutting imports of raw materials from the North. Those shipments have already been constricted since the North closed several North-South joint-venture companies north of the border.

South Korea could also undertake naval exercises in its coastal waters as a form of muscle-flexing, Mr. Cha said, perhaps in cooperation with the United States.

But the world’s leverage over North Korea is extremely limited, analysts said. The North has little trade with its neighbors, aside from China. It no longer admits United Nations inspectors to visit its nuclear facilities and announced in 2003 that it would withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

On Thursday, Japan said that the report on the sinking would make it harder to resume six-party talks with North Korea over the fate of its nuclear program.

Add to the uncertainty are the motivations, health and even state of mind of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-il, remained cloaked in mystery. Mr. Kim recently met in Beijing with President Hu Jintao, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and other leaders.

Kurt M. Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said he discussed Mr. Kim’s visit with Chinese officials earlier this week. He predicted that it would be a prime topic for Mrs. Clinton when she meets with Dai Bingguo, a state councilor in charge of foreign affairs.

“A central issue of discussion for Secretary Clinton and her Chinese interlocutors, Dai Bingguo and also the Chinese leaders, will be on their assessments of developments in North Korea and their reaction to the report,” he said.

John Seabrook NPR Segment

Some of you may recall John Seabrook’s recent article that appeared in the New Yorker on adoption from Haiti.  Well here’s a follow up to his story which appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air program.  The story smacked of “saving children through adoption,” and labeling adult adoptee perspectives as “ungrateful/angry.”

Let’s talk about the host, Terry Gross, whose last name aptly describes how I was feeling after listening to her carelessly quip about saving children and the history of “baby-lifts” in international adoption.

But I think perhaps it’s the most maddening to hear John Seabrook, whose only expertise in adoption is the initial research he has done in thinking about his own life as an adoptive father of a Haitian adoptee,  essentialize the entire history of international adoption.  He systematically denies the social contexts of these countries at the time their adoption programs began, and from a very America-centric/imperialistic point of view,  asserts that corruption occurs ONLY in “poor countries,” since they are more prone to be corrupted by their urge to make money…He later remarks almost smugly on how terrible it is that such a wonderful experience (allegedly for the adoptive parent and adoptee) comes out of such tragedy.  I won’t get into it right now, since that could be a totally different post given the circumstances in Haiti, which he tries to acknowledge only to wipe out his own credibility by saying the latter.

He leads the listeners to believe that those adult adoptees making their mark either through film, book, etc. portray painful experiences (he omits questions of race) and that an adoptees’ seemingly “primal” pain can be cured by trips to ones birth country.  As much as he compares adult adoptee experiences to mere “emotional baggage” he exposes his own hand as an adoptive father with relatively no understanding of race, what it means to parent a child of color, and how his “emotions” potentially drive his own opinions on the historical context of adoption.  Seabrook goes on to describe how he hopes his daughter doesn’t grow up feeling angry about her circumstances…

Of course there is always a question about how well an adoptee is “Adapting,” using pathologized and over-essentialized language like “grieving, loss and trauma” to position his own child (who is supposedly the happiest child he has ever seen), in the percentile of adoptees who did not experience or WILL NOT experience such feelings in the past or later in life.

And, sadly he goes on about how when thinking about international adoption, he and his wife believed they had more of a connection with Haiti and how they felt they could represent Haitian culture to their daughter Rose more than perhaps adopting an African American baby or other baby of color.  Again, this statement itself could be an entirely different post.

Overall, the segment left me feeling as though I was not allowed to socially critique adoption without becoming an “angry adoptee,” and that what I perceive to be my scholarly opinions (based on REAL research), are misleading since they are based on my “feelings.” The piece was totally misrepresentative of the WHOLE adoptee experience and it left me questioning how one with such little knowledge on adoption could be called on for a national radio program to discuss the history and alleged “merits” of international adoption.  Would it be so hard to acknowledge that perhaps the best people to call on to discuss international adoption might just be, the one affected the most by it i.e. the adoptee?  No.  The media seems to prefer to turn to the perspectives of adoptive parents who can tie things off with pretty bows denying that there are huge problems with international adoption, policies, and that for every seemingly “happy ending” there is extreme tragedy when a birth family is broken whether it is through “voluntary” or “involuntary” circumstances.

If you care to listen to this cringe-worthy segment, please click the link below.


GOAL’s Second Volume of the Journal of Korean Adoption Studies Now Available

I wanted to help spread the word that GOAL’s second volume of the Journal of Korean Adoption Studies is now available for purchase.  If you would like more information please visit their website.


TRACK Pushing Bill to Ratify Hague in Korea, End Adoption Abuses, Strengthen Domestic Adoptions

Hi all,

Just wanted to send along a statement from TRACK, on a bill that they are trying to push through.  It aims to end adoption abuses, ratify the Hague, and create a “new domestic paradigm” for domestic adoptions in Korea.


TRACK Article Link

The following essay was published in Pressian in Korean and featured the kangaroo picture above. Speaking in the kangaroo photo is Rep. Choi Young-hee, who held a press conference the day before Adoption Day to introduce our bill, which is mentioned below, to the public. We appreciate your support as we go into June with the goal of getting a bill made into law!!


To the Western families of over 160,000 internationally adopted children, South Korea is not known for Samsung TVs, Hyundai cars, or LG phones. It is known, rather, for the Korean adoptees who share homes with foreign families. South Korea is known either as an emasculated country incapable of taking care of its children, or a brutish country unwilling to take care of its own children. It is not known as an economically advanced country, but rather an impoverished country dependent upon the charity of more advanced nations. It is not known as a multi-cultural, global society, but rather a prejudiced and backward society that exiles children for the crimes of being born mixed-race, handicapped, poor, or to unwed mothers. For almost 60 years, this has been the perception of South Korea wherever international adoptees have lived in adoptive homes, attended schools and universities, attended church, or otherwise engaged in public life.

This image has stuck to Korea for many decades, and rightfully so. However, South Korea has a chance to decisively and permanently end the stigma of being an “orphan exporting country” in 2010. As South Korea hosts the G-20 this fall, the country has a chance to take on a new role on the global stage and raise not just its economic clout on the global stage, but also its moral clout. Taking full responsibility for the lives of all its citizens is one such way to do that at this historic juncture.

For almost two years, a coalition of adoptees, unwed mothers, and concerned Korean citizens from all walks of life have worked together to produce a bill that addresses many of the abuses of the past and sets up a new domestic paradigm of domestic family preservation that will help Korea meet international standards. The coalition is a historic one because the parties affected by the adoption law have never before created their own bill. At this time, the South Korean government can meet the era’s challenge by making the historic decision to treat international adoptees as partners by listening to their lifetimes of experience living in foreign countries that they bring back to Korea. The government also has a golden opportunity to take a system of discrimination against unwed mothers and turn it around 180 degrees to become a system that promotes acceptance, as well as personal, societal, and governmental responsibility.

These are a few of the points our bill addresses: We must close the loopholes in the adoption law that have led to so much pain for adoptees and their families in the past. We must ensure a strong central authority, per the Hague Convention, that would provide oversight over adoption agency activities and also ensure adequate post-adoption services. We must separate the adoption agencies from the unwed mothers’ homes and clinics that comprise the “baby farms” that provide the supply to meet the demand for adoption. We must support child-rearing unwed mothers materially and socially. Most of all, we need to firmly address the realities of society that are in the present, instead of engaging in wishful thinking about a time long ago or exporting our society’s “problems” to foreign countries.

Therefore, on the occasion of South Korea’s Adoption Day in 2010, our coalition urges the South Korean government to work swiftly to:

1) Ratify the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption

2)  Remove reservations to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and

3)  Swiftly take all action necessary to progress our bill so it can be made into law before the G-20.

As South Korea seeks to join the ranks of advanced countries economically, the government should also join the ranks of countries that are advanced in terms of social welfare. Only by instituting and enforcing a new system that meets international standards can South Korea erase its long-standing shame of being an “orphan-exporting country” and truly join the ranks of advanced countries.

Although South Korea has long felt ashamed and guilty for “orphan-exporting,” there has never been any concerted and long-term plan, immune to the changing winds of politics, that has been instituted to take positive, concrete steps forward. Let’s do it now. While taking these steps is long overdue, it is better late than never. We appeal to you to act without delay.

Thank you very much.

More Than Just A Number: Harry and Bertha Holt’s Adopted Children

Every time I read an article about the history of Korean adoption I am reminded of Harry and Bertha Holt’s role in jump-starting adoptions from Korea.  Articles often reference the fact that they adopted eight children, but never have I come across any more information about who they are and what they did.

I’ve often wondered what their lives were like growing up being adopted.  What were the family dynamics like in such a large household, and what insights can they share seeing the Korean adoptee community grow through organized non-profits, conferences and the blogosphere?

A few years ago when I first visited Korea, I was told that one of the Holt children committed suicide.  It was something that consumed me for a long time after my trip.  But it had somehow faded away until I was reading another article and it dawned on me that I had never attempted to find out anything about the circumstances of his death, or the other adoptees in the family.

Let’s start with what I’ve been able to find on the Holt KADs.

Harry and Bertha did indeed adopt eight children from Korea.  Here are their names:

Joseph Holt (suicide 1984)
Robert Holt
Mary Holt
Christine Holt
Nathaniel ‘Nat’ Holt (drown 1972)
Paul Holt
Helen Holt Stampe
Betty Holt Rodriguez


Biological children

Stewart Holt d 1991
Wanda Holt d 1961
Molly Holt
Barbara Holt
Suzanne Holt Peterson
Linda Holt

Joseph Tae Holt, was 32 when sadly, he took his own life in 1984.  According to the Eugene Register-Guard, a “Resident” of the Holt home had called the authorities to report that he had threatened to take his own life, and shortly after there had been a gun shot.  When the ambulance arrived, he had passed away.  To read more you can follow this link to a story about his tragic death.

What is striking to me, is that most adoptees that were adopted through Holt did not know this.  They know the story of the Holts, but are unaware of Joseph Tae Holt.  But what it reminds us to consider is this.  There have been and continue to be mental health issues for adoptees.  Sadly, Joseph is not the first adoptee to have taken his own life.  And who knows what his circumstances were, I’m certainly not assigning any blame but I do think it serves as a reminder that adoptees need to have mental health professionals who are sensitive to their needs.

I was also able to track down some information on another one of their children, Betty Rhee Rodriguez-Holt.  It’s not much, but I found a wedding announcement in 1974.  I believe she later remarried because in a short obituary honoring Bertha Holt in 2000, an NYTimes article said that she was survived by  Betty Blankenship.

From that article I was able to determine that as of 2000, there were 9 of Holt children still alive.

Barbara Chambers, Suzanne Peterson, Linda Pack, Robert Holt, Mary Last, Christine Russell, Helen Stampe, Paul Holt and Betty Blankenship

Based on this, I would have to conclude that Paul Holt, Helen Stampe, Mary Last, Robert Holt, Betty Blankenship, Christine Russell are all still alive today.  Perhaps this has changed over the past ten years, but I’m assuming it’s pretty accurate.

This is all I was able to come up with on the Holt adoptees in the family.  I know there are a few books out there published by Bertha Holt such as “Bring My Sons From Afar: The unfolding of Harry Holt’s dream” and “The Seed from the East”

But I have yet to read these, so perhaps someone who has can shed some light on the lives of the Holt adoptees.

And of course I should also mention, that I am interested in all of the Holt family’s children, not just those who were adopted.  But of course, here I am, blogging about adoptees.  🙂  With that said, I would be thrilled to hear that there are interviews out there with the Holt children.  There is so much to wonder about and if anyone has information about interviews or oral history collections with them I would love to know where I could find them.  -GS

Dr. John Raible’s Paper at MIT ASAC Conference 2010

As I mentioned before, I recently attended the Alliance for the Study of Adoption Conference at MIT.  It was filled with mixed emotions for me.  I did want to share with you someone’s work that I have been particularly moved by.  I read his blog from time to time, and for the first time, I was able to meet him and hear him speak.  His work and words are informative and transformational.  Please take a moment to read the paper he delivered at the ASAC conference.  -GS